Lane Powell PC - Food, Beverage and Hospitality Law Blog

GMO Food Labels, Our Emotions and the “Rationalist’s Delusion”

Politicians often referred to a 90% consumer preference for food labels signaling the existence of genetically modified ingredients—or GMOs as they are known—during this year’s congressional hearings regarding the now enacted…more
| Agriculture, Communications & Media Law, Science, Computers, & Technology

Patenting the Quest for a More Perfect Veggie Burger

When a food synthesizer first appeared on Star Trek: The Original Series, I looked upon it with awe and wonder. Its workings were never explained; but entire meals would emerge from it magically. Swanson’s frozen TV dinners were…more
| Communications & Media Law, Intellectual Property

Compensating “Disgust”: Psychoanalyzing Emotional Distress Claims Involving Food Products

You’re a sheriff’s deputy and you’re hungry. You stop at the local Burger King drive-thru and order a Whopper with cheese. You often eat five meals a day—frequently at fast food restaurants—because you work night shifts. Yet,…more
| Civil Procedure, Civil Remedies, Personal Injury, Products Liability

Starlet Marketing, Patenting and Branding of the California Artichoke

How do you tempt someone to trim, steam (or boil) artichokes and scrape spiny artichoke leaves with their front teeth? Here’s an easy answer. Crown a newly minted Marilyn Monroe as Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen in…more
| Agriculture, Communications & Media Law, Intellectual Property

The Genetics of Gender Discrimination in Date Palm Patenting

You’re driving south out of Indio along the Grapefruit Boulevard towards Thermal and Mecca because their names sound promising.  A parched desert plain extends to your left, leading up to the austere ridgelines of Joshua Tree…more
| Civil Procedure, Intellectual Property

Patenting the Avocado: A California Story with a Classic Recipe

Guacamole and chips are the ultimate in Super Bowl Sunday comfort food nowadays. During the Panthers/Broncos game, the California Avocado Commission tweeted its own commentary, offering recipes that paired avocados with food…more
| Agriculture, Art, Entertainment, & Sports Law, Intellectual Property, Science, Computers, & Technology

Novel Potato Chips: The Patentable Art of Processing Potatoes

During a 1911 journey—in which they would discover Machu Picchu—Hiram Bingham’s exploration party came across some native Peruvians who “lived almost entirely on gruel made from chuño, frozen bitter potatoes. Little else in…more
| Agriculture, Intellectual Property

Patenting the Potato: “Not All Taters are Created Equal”

Wearing a McDonald’s blue garrison-style hat—red hats signified management—I often worked at the french fry station during my pimply high school years in the 1970s. If you had asked me anything about the julienned potatoes I…more
| Agriculture, Intellectual Property, Science, Computers, & Technology

Transgenic Salmon: A Primer on FDA Food Safety Regulations

When Meriwether Lewis tasted his first roasted morsel of a fresh Chinook salmon at a Shoshone camp along the Lemhi River (in modern day Idaho), he ate it with “very good relish.” It convinced him that “we were on the waters of…more
| Administrative Law, Agriculture, Science, Computers, & Technology

Assessing the Validity of Food Processing Patents, Post-Alice

Patent eligibility is in a state of flux. Software and business method innovations challenge the boundary of what is patentable under U.S. law. That dividing line is crossed when inventors claim exclusive rights in what really…more
| Civil Procedure, Intellectual Property, Science, Computers, & Technology

Trademarks as a Barometer of Change: A Pop Quiz

Designed to appeal and speak to the customers of a specific time and place, trademarks can become hallmarks of a bygone era. The controversy surrounding the use of the REDSKINS trademark and logo shows just how much the…more
| Communications & Media Law, Intellectual Property

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: The California Strawberry Commission’s Claim to University Plant Breeding Research

Plant patents are often overshadowed by their more well-known utility and design patent counterparts under U.S. law. Yet, with the increasing branding and differentiation of agricultural commodities, plant patent rights drive…more
| Agriculture, Civil Procedure, Commercial Law & Contracts, Education, Intellectual Property

Not-So-Sweet Smell of Success: When Does Ambient Scent Marketing Become a Deceptive Trade Practice?

Scent marketing is as old as a realtor baking cookies in a house up for sale and as new as Oscar Mayer’s “bacon” alarm clock. Harnessing the primal power of smell represents a final frontier of subliminal advertising…more
| Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Communications & Media Law, Consumer Protection

Strawberry Patent Rights, Forever

Ripe strawberries define lusciousness. Fragile, with fleeting taste, these heart-shaped berries inspired Shakespeare’s pen: “The strawberry grows underneath the nettle; and wholesome berries thrive and ripen best; neighbour’d…more
| Agriculture, Intellectual Property

Will the Recent Scientific Attack on Vitamin Use Spawn a New Wave of False Advertising Litigation?

For centuries, we’ve ingested magic elixirs in pill and syrupy forms to cure whatever ails us and to ward off future illness. Hard scientific evidence of efficacy may have been lacking for these nostrums, but lingering doubts…more
| Administrative Law, Communications & Media Law, Health, Science, Computers, & Technology
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